tv Washington Journal James Thurber and Molly Reynolds CSPAN December 22, 2017 12:20am-1:17am EST
-- the other series at 8:00 a.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org and c-span radio. >> at the end of the first session of the 115th congress we look back at the bills passed and other actions taken over the past year. this discussion happen before today's vote in favor of a temporary spending bill. this is just under one hour. >> at the table as well as molly reynolds whose brookings institution. welcome and thank you. we're going to rate this current session of congress.
>> it is good to rate a congress compared to others. let's take the first year of the obama administration. in the first two years the affordable care act passed eventually, this one had some problems, the pastor tax bill and there's a lot of things that are important but they failed in repealing the affordable care act, yes they they have not done very well, they had some oversight hearings that we have not seen those with russia, if they're in my class, i would give them a d.
>> because of what they did not accomplish? >> the have not pass the budget or the appropriation bills. these poor kids out there that live below the poverty line that cannot get insurance and those bipartisan support for it but haven't dealt with the debt one point they were very concerned about it. >> molly? >> i largely agree, i think for me this idea of what today leave undone is really important. we can point to the tax bill and talk about judges putting justice gorsuch on the supreme court is a major achievement that has the potential to do
that and in doing so confirming the supreme court nominees that we can celebrate those accomplishments and can say this think they got done but we cannot know the facts were heading to january with the appropriations work unfinished, at best a temporary we thracian, lots of on done business. >> we say undone, i.e. giving them this d,. >> i.e. given them this assessment because of the things government is supposed to do?
now what they promised they would do and they ran? >> so what are the compulsory's, that congress is supposed to do every year this congress is leaving those things of finish. have expirations of major programs like chip, the flood insurance program and faa, these basic functions of keeping the government doing what it's supposed to. turning their attention to things that did not have the major deadlines the most important thing is they have not pass the budget on time. we're still on a continuing resolution. were still facing the possibility of shutting down government. if you're running a lab but i
should say that congress is not only republicans, it's democrats, highly polarized congress with a very narrow margin with democrats not willing to go for a vote on things with the republicans. they might on infrastructure coming up. some people thought they should have led with that, and now i think the water is bloodied, bloodied, it will be hard to get bipartisan support even for infrastructure and bridges and roads. by the way, the president has had success in deregulation, reregulation, not enforcing existing regulation and congress has successfully redirected these but there are hundreds of
payments that have not been reviewed on the hill. there six ambassador ships that are open. the constant spending issue congress has decided to pass another continuing resolution to keep the government open to january 19 if they can get the votes. if you want to read was part of this go to our website. this is not the first congress to pass continuing resolution, what grade will you give the previous congress that dissimilar moves when it came to keeping the government running. >> we've only had the government on time four times. we cannot even pass it on time
when we had a surplus under clinton. so that's a problem. usually they appropriate the arm service bills and's homeland security. they haven't done it. it's a serious problem. >> purchase up, good morning to head. >> morning. i think when he agreed the congress you have to divided up into the democrats and republicans. i give the democrats the from their resistance and i give the republicans a day because they haven't done anything. when you say that you have to quit spending so much. when the government takes money out of your check and put it in a lockbox or whatever and then
they spend it on something they're not supposed to spend it on, what you do? title because where the government takes anybody this poster come back to you the way the money is supposed to be use. i think governments very good overall at all. people who depend on the government others not. if you depend on yourself to do things the constitution doesn't tell you you're entitled to an education or medicaid cartels is entitled to life liberty and the pursuit of happening. >> host: i'll leave it there. what about given them enough? >> one thing that's important to think about what happened democrats is republicans made several key choices that they didn't have to work with
democrats. they decided to make their two big legislative priorities. they chose to put both of those through the budget reconciliation process which protects certain bills and said to democrats, we don't need your votes. it really disincentive isis democrats from working across the aisle. they say if you want to play that game you can take the ball, it absolves them of responsibility to have to work with the democrats. >> in 2015 when ryan took over a speaker, he reached across the aisle and 28 significant bills. they all had democratic support. he had a honeymoon from the far right right after boehner left.
these were tough things, the doc fix on medicare and on and on. the senate had similar phenomenon produced an education bill that only have one vote against it in committee and went through the senate quickly. it's possible to have bipartisanship. in 2018 lb hard. i think the democrats will not play that game, and infrastructure. and that is bad for america in my opinion. . . . . in the days on the g.o.p. tax plan republican rob portman met with joe highway nd in the
office of the capitol hill. he said he would consider the tax effort if only a few changes were made chief corporate cutting the rate to 20% reduce it to 25% and use the proceeds for bigger class tax cuts. other democrats he suggest the might follow. portman took it to republican leaders who rejected it. manchin >> may be able to get reelected in estate where the majority too get reelected but that was only one person to have dozens of people and i would like to see that come back. so the voters are highly partisan and it makes it very
difficult and it makes it more like that after the trump election. >> this is the degree to which explicitly to divide the democrats. there are a number of democratic senators that are up forer reelection winning by a large margin so the degree that they decided they would just try to go down party lines as opposed to do these things to bring democrats on board is an interesting policy choice with f consequences. >> as part of the permanent
campaign and the democrats are going to use this for the next election and already are there has already been statements about that andd remember, the house has a net 24 that are needed. and in 23 of of the districts hillary had the majority., some say it is extremely competitive right now i hate to predict anymore especially after the election. >>host: what you are hearing is those voters that they are lighting up are the suburban voters. >> absolutely the moderate republicans what happened in alabama and then dave voted
democratic. >> good morning. >> caller: you hear the people talking about president trump and i am a supporter but what bothers me is how much damage he has done but the reality of the situation is we had a time sorry monetary problem with the government especially since obama and it seems that everything is the new president's fault. but not not looking at what is going on. he is doing the best he can considering how many are against him. i really am upset it is an
anti- america we are antigovernment after 60 years to be in the government your kids are rich we don't get our money back to you still have your money from the time that you worked. i would love for my husband to be retired and get the same paycheck but we don't get that benefit. >>host: let's get that benefit he is not a member of congress and was never a member of congress just to clarify that. what about her sentiment. >> he is new to washington the way that washington operates thisas year is the same as many years. >> that is a fair point. what he talked about a lot is to drain the swamp was the rhetoric but it was a couple
of things to think about but what we are talking about is what has even able to do? >> one of the challenges that republicans face is internally divided conference that we would think or expect the president of the same party would do a good job to bridge those internal differences. and what we expected under a different republican president there is some learning and i think we sawaw fewer instances as trump inserted himself in a
counterproductive o way. and we saw less of that that is important to watch going forward. how they learn the ways of washington. >> they need to have a clear strategy of what they want. they need to define the problem they try to solve on the hill that never was a definition of the problem before they passed the tax bill. there was with the affordable care act. he has been somewhat random in his relationship with leadership on the hill and his disruptive ieen have 140 former students that are staff members some are in leadership i will not quote them directly but causing a
lot of problems that then he tweets on something that gets in the way of what they are doing finally they are on q rather than the othernd way around in my opinion. >> what about that before the celebration that we repealed obamacare? >> the question is overstated the fact that the individual mandate is part of the tax bill hurts it but it deals with cost and if you limit the number of people who have there are lots of
other things that help improve healthcareea and their lives are not touched by that in my opinion. >> so given what we saw over the summer how republicans thought they could repeal the affordable care act and they could not get that done because they could not write the bill and they would vote for that it isn't surprising now they want to undo a small piece of that and they tell voters this is something to be done. >> caller: congress is
unfettered at because that arises from their necessity to spend 75% of their time drumming up large campaign contributions from the wealthy donors that profit at the expense and loss of the vast majority of u.s. citizens and with that supreme court ruling which equated to grab the big money from political campaigns of political speech and citizens united now opening the door to dark money. >> you should put him on c-span. that was perfect. he has it nailed. we has a tuesday thursday club. they go back home to have town meetings but also to bring in
money. and back hustling money there are some small donors also but in terms of running congress so the leadership every two years we have rules you have to be here but they don't there is no law fort. that. they think going home is a way to do it there are 34 members who don't even live here. they sleep on caught and eat in the cafeteria and they brag about the fact they are not of washington but then why did theyey get elected? shrink government with oversight it is serious problem.
>> let's hear from the republican line. >> caller: i didn't agree with the previous caller especially talking tax and spend but there isn't a lot of conservative republicans left. and throughout the years when own business and i struggled it is a lot different and as far as people see they will raise money i still remember david brinkley commenting this mind so they
should go out to wash cars. >> what we have seen unfolding congress is some revelation how much of what we saw under the obama administration on spending and the deficit was principal with opposition to government spending with a convenient and useful way to oppose that democratic president. and with this threaded non- rhetoric that has been walked back and also what congress is currently considering as they push for the offset of spending that is the dynamic.
>> in terms of principle conservatives there are 50 in the house of representatives they went along with the tax bill although generating $1 trillion plus in debt because of other tax bill when you consider things on the hill compromise is behind the constitution and has to occur here unfortunately there hasn't been much between the two parties but i would say there are many people who are hard-core conservatives and concerned about the debt and deficit wanting to deal with the entitlement programs and
probably that will be on the agenda in the future. >> also axios was told yesterday with that infrastructure is where they want to go next. >> good morning. ambassadorship there has been no nominees especially with south korea. >> i don't have the numbers off the top of my head but my sense is a lot of it that the administration is not puttingpe forward, needs but if you look
more broadly and in some cases they are having trouble finding people in this administration and at the state departmentro more broadly what they want the department to look like that a smaller department with fewer people working there. >> talk about the session of congress we are learning as the morning goes on what the plan is for the lawmakers to get out of town. one thing on the agenda is avoiding the shutdown with the d deadline midnight friday with a continuing resolution outlooks it will will go through january 19 for all agencies but reauthorization
of surveillance as well as chipm. i'm not sure if this is part of that legislation also disaster relief we have a reporter on capitol hill who says the chairman of the freedom caucus says he got a commitment from leadership there will be a standalone vote on the reauthorization and they would be allowed to offer requestedd amendments per her colleague reporting this morning. >> i would the dream act and there is some bipartisan concern about that as flaky got part of the deal that he would be part of the negotiations so that is there also. reauthorization of the higher education act which also the
senateus has some serious amendments to dodd frank to help those community banks that is a hot issue next year. i don't see bipartisanship coming on that. we willl see. >>host: alsoso the dreamers feel the trades them are risking arrestor to hallways and congress to march in the office corridors to say they were forgotten in the government spending negotiations. democrat from chicago you are next. >> caller: good morning. i have some quick questions i am focused exclusively on thehe recent tax bill that passed both houses. first of all what is the consensus on debt of gdp among the experts and the relationship of that shutdown?
there was a close vote in both houses in relationship there are plenty of democrats and republicans divided. what is the long-termrm state of the economy based on empirical studies? and finally does this create systemic risk? >> we have government experts not economists. >> i think the consensus is the debt implications to increase significantly with the republicans to set outut the plan in brace to that goal to set themselves so they have a
motivatingy goal that by lowering corporate taxes that will address that and i think one thing we have to deal with down the line is what are the consequences to structure the tax bill but also with the expiring provision? with the individual tax cuts are set to expire and set up for a giant cliff in ten years. >> debt you had upd. a chart and a teach class we get into the budget i didn't memorize it but i do know the united
states debt to gdp is so large we would not be allowed to join the eu because they have certain standards. of course greece is off now but we would not be allowed to join for good or bad with that is what you should measure i'm sorry i don't have thatce exact percentage but it is going up. >>host: this conference agreement between 95 and 98% of gdp compared to the 91% right now but it could go as high as 100% with the provisions. >> caller: good morning. i am a simple man and i don't understand.
i work hard 28 years out of my 52 year life. imho supporter. but before he was elected neither democrats or republicans did not want him in office. he doesn't need this job. he is representing those who work their off every day. i don't see congress people doing that they have been there 30 years. that is not what it is about. >>host: your thoughts? >> believe it or not the tenure of the members on the hill is much shorter than youou think it is about six and a half years in the house and much longer in the senate but the people you hear about they get the news and i am not for term limits personally i think we need to improve the way we elect people to have more
election dealing with redistricting for the house. we have term limit that are called popular elections but they are fixed because of redistricting only 30 or 40 seats are competitive and to have people, to havee the entire 50 years. we do have a limit on chairs that is good some are not the most senior but they are elected in secret ballot and that is good. >> talking about thisbo congress , how would you rate? also the founder and former director center for presidential studies.
so what are your questions or comments? we will take it to the top of the hour for the legislative session. now let's listen to the democratic line from michigan. >> caller. i am right nextre to flint michigan. i am a democrat voting for trump.nt americans are getting tired of washington when everybody seems a millionaire. i have no idea i could only assume that the regular american people don't have a lobbyist in washington. and it makes everybody in america that they him that the
mainstream media looks at us as if we are scumbags. >>host: how has president trump changed washington? >> talking about congress he has changed it much less and he promised to much less than some were expecting we were talking about the infrastructure bill about this time last year a lot of talk that the first thing he would do is with his bipartisan infrastructure proposal and that the biggest accomplishment of the year for the republicans is the tax bill passed yesterday that overwhelmingly focused on benefiting corporations.
so in that sense i don't have trump changing washington that much spirit president trump said he would change the way washington works to drain the swamp that a lot of people felt that was draining the swamp of the lobbyist that had narrow specialized interest and i will get back to that. obama said he would change the way washington works but his concept was to bring people to gather to work together in the geddle but he didn't change washington trump does not change it that way. he has changed washington in terms of tweeting believe it or not. it was very important in the campaign and now and disruptive but you have this gentleman have representation on the tax bill you really have to look at organized
interest may be part of the united auto workers to join the aarp the largest interest group in the history to represent him and that is the way washington works it can't change very easily because we are a representative democracy where groups are important and this tax bill the corporations werere there the farmers were thereza and people like this gentleman were not there unless they could express themselves through the aarp or uaw. >> one thing that we saw with the tax bill moving that quickly is there were less opportunities for that group based engagement that we as typically associate and it was
a long time coming and in developmentt. this may have been a conscious choice to have less of an opportunity so one's loophole is a tax break. >> it was closed and not very open. billions of dollars are spent every year by interest groups and lobbyist and hundreds of millions spent during thens period trying to get provisions. there are lots of examples how industry was there, banks were there but aarp was not which is a mass organization and that is a problem in our democracy and possibly 2018. >>host: the bill also talks
about carried interest and we covered his conversation. talk about him and wants to increase their tax rate and he bothushed back fromm sides of the aisle and he said we tried at least 25 times that they haveve a strong lobby on capitol hill. >> going to want long -- montgomery alabama. independent. >> caller: good morning. both republicans and democrats are liars and thieves and cowards and they are stealing the president still hasn't shown his taxes in regards to what people think nobody hates him he is a liar and a coward and also a politician and as far as congress.
they are all phony what michelle obama said was pretty much correct just remove those old white men and replace them with a woman. it is time that something better because men are all liars get them out of there. >> what about the sentiment of not trusting washington and to become a politician if you look at the readings for the job approval the average is low at 19%. >> yes. that is 82nd do readers. >> the approval rating was on a very partisan measure so
there were some moments that 50% were feeling good about congress and some that line -- asking me to look ahead to 2018 and. >> 19% seems very high they must have allowed a lot of people on the hill because that is pretty high. it was as low as 10% but this this could be the year of women. twenty-two when the senate i would not express my preference like he did but the women caucus know how to work together probably knows sexual
harassment issues with women. the year in terms of recruitment i certainly hope we go in that direction. >> good morning. merryma christmas you said if republicans use that nuclear option that was harry reid 2013. why do we allow the federal congress people to live where theye represent? in florida you have to live in the district you represent you cannot just run for anywhere else in the state. i am thinking of maxine waters. everybody talks about the
caucus that the black caucus should be treated equally but people think the average american is dumb. but we are not. we figured thisp. out. we are not dummies anymore. >> with the nuclear option specifically. then that would be controlled by a democrat that reduces the number of votes and the nominations to the executive branch republicans extended
and this is consistent and then to get frustrated with the other side next time a switch with party control. i was not entirely surprisingng to me. >> and with that filibuster we are using w reconciliation now you only need 50 votes to get something done. democrats did that with the affordable care act so now that normal approach to legislation, and with the omnibus continuing resolutions
like the back door authorizations which are against the rules of the house and the senate so that seem to be fairly normal. and asas a result to think things through. with a super majority that is a problem in myll opinion. >>host: canada independent. >> caller: i remember on september 10, 2001 there was a press conference that said $2.1 million were missing from the pentagon budget. and recently it has come into the news the number was from
hud was $21 trillion in unaccounted taxpayer money. so can either guest comment onn that? just google it to see that even forbes magazine attack and that seems like a lot of money. >> i cannot speak to that particular dollar figures but i can say that one way is to oversee the conduct of the executive branch. one thing we see over time is that responsibility we have examples but it is the case that it does lack oversight.
related to the appropriations process for oversight can happen and as that process has got in with the omnibus bill and then see congress fall down on the job. >> we have many more rigorous oversight hearings with unifieday government we are having some oversight hearings but it is oversight light with divided party government they go after this but they also have been agency gao by requirement are to have oversight of the programs and
they have hearings related to those that is very important. but also outside groups with first amendment rights to organize and petition the government but they do oversightia and also the media with these institutions but we still need more. the joke is why don't you just go down to the line in the budget at fraud waste and that out? then you would do much better. >> talk about 2018 with investigation.he this is what senator warner warned about on the floor about firing special counselor mueller. >> i don't think he will but there would be a firestorm of pushback on that by democrats and republicans alike.
way the approval process is enormouslyi long. i was literally handed a list of everything sitting in the army corps of engineers for approval. it has been in there longer than our ages combined. time.s a long there are things in there from the 20s that are still waiting for approval so the number one thing we can do is with a congressional group going down to australia actually they figured it out. we can streamline the process from years down at weeksif and months then there is money a taxes but we just need to get them approved but them to
budget but let me tell you one of the reasons that those that came through to wipe out people's houses but any city in america knows that and close us down not just the construction but private property rights. >> sitting down right now with axios he just said i would not expect to see that on the agenda of entitlement saying without that support they cannot do it next year. >> yes.
what is important to keep in mind is the process of entitlement or welfare reform the staff is likely to bring the budget reconciliation process and republicans will be down one more vote in the senate and the prospect to get a partyline bill in the election year seems like a long shot. >> i agree when you start doing entitlement reform you have to hit social security and medicare and hear his review have older voters that vote in high rates or interest groups that will push back but i don't see major entitlement reform coming through.
>> is technology making us smarter or is it telling us to place our trust the wrong people and the wrong places talk about the closing of a general motors plant. >> but it is about the dislocated workers themselves a government term you have lost your job not much likelihood it will come that they are called dislocated workers so i decided what i wanted to illustrate is what choices people make with no good choices left.